As I hiked through the woods on this last day of 2022. I stopped and looked around. I pondered and hardly noticed my own surroundings. The woods were quiet today, almost asleep. The tree canopy was tucked in by a blanket of fog. I thought of the last year. I thought about losing Tosh, Relationships ending and making life changing decisions. Today is really just the last day of a fiscal calendar year. But because of the occasion that it is. New Year’s Eve always provokes deep thoughts in me. I accept it is a great time for reflection. But I also have to remind myself of the natural order of things. Instead of setting lofty goals, I will be easy and be kind to myself. We are in the deep winter. It is a time for slumber and rest. The real new year beckons us with a siren call. We will march towards her unabashed. Knowing full well that real change and growth happens in the spring! A fiend of mine says “To regret the past is to insult this moment.” I’m doing the best I can to make the moment worthy of not insulting. I will be patient with myself as the days remain short. The spring equinox gets closer with every passing day. Here’s to a new year full of Fair seas and following winds.
I was very close to buying my 3rd Catalina22, after have just sold my second one I owned “Simply”last fall. The time was right and work became stable again after making a pretty serious career change. I starting my normal ritual of surfing Craig’s list for boats. I quickly found a deal on a 1974 Catalina 22. I drove to DC to look at it and something just didn’t feel right . After inspection I walked away without purchasing her. A few months prior I stumbled across a picture of a O’day Mariner 2+2 I liked the lines of the boat and it sparked my curiosity. I then proceeded to dive into the world of countless pictures and threads concerning the fine little boat. After telling the Catalina22 owner I would need a few days to think about it looking back now I think my mind was already set. That night I woke up from my restless indecision of sleep and quickly joined the Mariner association. I began looking feverishly for Mariners in my area. To my dismay there were not many available. The ones I did see were well out of my price range especially for a boat of that size. It then hit me why not use the forum provided to utilize the following owners to my advantage. I quickly typed away my intentions and created a add for “Mariner 2+2 wanted in Maryland”. I was forthright that I was looking for a boat in fair condition with a trailer and that I wasn’t afraid to get my hands dirty. I instantly got a response from a man named Chuck. He mentioned that he had a 77 2+2 that was in fair condition. He had bought the boat with a friend to race in the one design class on the Delaware. He was honest that overnighting on her was not his thing and that the boat needed work. It had multiple sets of sails and in particular had a new set only purchased a few years ago. I was instantly interested and set up a time to make the doable trip to South Jersey. The rain and losing an hour of sleep springing forward did not deter me. Also my tow vehicle I had lined up to bring her home was not available. I pressed on despite the weather , daylight savings time, and the pick up truck deciding it wanted the rest I was in much need for. We headed north we arrived at the boat and I was immediately amazed at how small the whole package was . Despite her small size the cockpit was roomy and the cabin had just enough room to lay your head and hide from the weather. As we bailed the tarp out and pealed it back it was clear the boat was a tool for racing only, blocks and tackle being in better shape then the gelcoat . It had survived a horrendous accident a storm had blown her off the trailer with only a few scrapes and dings as a result I pressed on . The cushions were vintage mustard yellow, the cabin had water in her. After running my hands along her hull and inspecting the important parts which seemed unfazed despite her recent neglect it felt right. After all we are both the same age at 41 and just like I have more life in me she indeed deserves to have life breathed in her! I offered Chuck 900$ and he accepted I am now the proud owner of a 1977 Oday Mariner. She’s gonna need a lot of work but I love messing about on boats to paraphrase loosely the famous quote. My goal is to do the basics and address the necessities new tiller ,spreader repair and let the wind fill her sails! I will take on the restoration in chapters putting sailing first. A commitment is following through on a decision long after the mood you made it in has passed. It’s the beginning of a long journey I’m already grateful for the abundance of information I have already seen on the site. Thank you to those who also reached out to me and if I was closer to you I would have considered your boats. Let the journey began
As this rock we stand on pushes its way through the universe
Seasons come and go
The memories of us are tangled in my mind like two warm bodies lost between the sheets .
Let us hold onto hope
Just as winter knows summer will soon come .
Just as the ocean obeys the tides
The things I hold on to are promised and predestined
The sun will wake us up
The moon will tuck us in
Pure love will always win
I wrote this while my eyes were full of tears . My Uncle had just passed, I had the opportunity of opening my house up to him. He lived with me for a handful of weeks on home hospice, before his health quickly slipped away. He went into Stella Maris when I was no longer able to care for him in the way he needed. He was a misunderstood gay man dying of liver cancer. He died as a direct result of alcoholism. I’m sure his inability to openly live the life he desired fed his disease. I had an opportunity to read this in a stuffy church remembrance ceremony.
We were joined by DNA and chance , through a series of cosmic events I was bound to you by blood memory and family . You are my uncle and in the small time our souls reconnected through an indescribable collision of love and instilled behaviors we froze the moment ! Love transcends the human notion of time . A notion that has been lost to the rat race of an existence we have been taught to believe . Uncle Bobby I see you ! I look past the stigmas thrown on you by born just a handful of decades to early . Despite the generational ignorance you endured you stood proud ! I salute you for the proud stance of a man you choose to be despite misunderstanding! You are a hero of bravery and stood for the truth ! You taught me to never be ashamed to answer the true calling of who we are ! Consciousness will always be the biggest threat to acceptance. You stood 10 feet tall to me despite being a proud man of small stature ! May your spirit go where the universe wills it ! I long for the day that we are all reconnected and our differences do not define us ! I love you ,We love you ,and our Hurley name is proud of the Hurley you were !
RIP Robert Hurley Jr
In the beginning it starts as a spark.
Then God gives it breath, and your life begins to start.
Treatment is the kindling and the journey begins.
Just give the hope time because your nowhere near the end.
Once you get out the wind starts to blow.
Careful with your tiny fire, you can’t afford to let it go.
You take suggestions hit meetings, and throw on a log.
Remember in the process your still in the fog.
Then hope begins to crackle, and the log begins to smoke.
Careful not to overload let the fire stoke.
Then hope begins to flame, and rage into a fire.
Careful at this point don’t turn to wrong desires.
Give hope time as it started like a spark.
Sobriety like the fire will settle in your heart.
You meet a lot of people and make a lot of friends.
Then you start to realize, you don’t want the hope to end.
Once the fires blazing you form a bed of coals, and in the process of recovery you start to reach your goals.
The goal of sober living which started as a spark is now warm hope lets keep it in our heart.
Just when we think we’re finished and that our job is done , we should reach into the bed of coals and share it with someone !
So Iam finishing up a huge week with Sunday football and have hunkered down in my basement to decompress after dropping off my daughters . I have had them for a full seven days because their mother had gone out of town. Now you might say ” A whole seven days whats the big deal ? “. Well I do not have full custody of my girls so a whole week is a bit of a culture shock for me. I stay involved in there life on a daily basis, but its completely different to have them for more then a long weekend now. I knew it was not gonna be a hard week, they are very well behaved and require very little constant monitoring .Juli is 11 and Lily is 8 they are both great girls involved in sports , dance, and do very well in school. I find that some of the time they are more mature then I am ! So as i drove home the first day with them in the back seat I thought about the week ahead. I questioned why I was so intimidated by it all. I have had them for long weekends before and not to brag but I am a good father so whats the big deal .The more I thought about it the more I wondered why i felt this way. I know as humans we start to develop habits after just three weeks so just like anybody else I have grown accustomed to a hybrid parenting lifestyle . This is natural and healthy because it allows us to adjust and change. I say “hybrid “rather then “part time” because once a parent always a parent , and I am always on call and ready to jump into action at any point if I am needed. The only problem with that is just because your on call you start to develop selfish behavior and we all know to be a good parent we need to be selfless. A good example of what I mean is I had recently started binging on a non PG Tv series and any other time I would have watched till my heart was content . Not this week it was dinner, homework , and either the news on and some type of kid crafts or a disney movie ! So i found myself pouting a bit at first . So as the days ticked by the question answered its self , I was intimidated because my routine was threatened. It wasn’t because I felt inadequate . I quickly fell into a groove and learned to love living my life around my children again. Once that happened the rest of the week flew by and I was dropping them off and the week that appeared huge was not long enough. I have a tendency to overthink things and if you read my post before this you might understand why . Although my life is different today , I think its still important to question why i feel what i feel. So as I sit here quietly typing this post I still have an ear open for kids playing in the house . I guess old habits die hard ….
I sat there staring out the window it was early fall so the sun was setting fast. I could not stop shaking and the drugs they had administered where doing very little to take the edge off. There were two squirrels tumbling through the golden leaves lost completely in the moment. I wanted to be them, i wanted to be anything other then myself. My diagnoses was not good my disease was fatal. I couldn’t believe i was here again . I couldn’t believe that there was such a simple way back to health yet so difficult to attain! I ignored the questions the nurses insisted on asking choosing to look the other way . The squirrels had the answer I wanted not the nurses. It all started earlier that summer I had stopped by some old friends house I missed them and had not seen them all winter. They were happy to see me and asked how i was doing we exchanged pleasantries but the house was bustling with movement . The young women were packing things in coolers the guys enjoying a few beers while they came up with a plan. It was a hot day in Hamilton a small neighborhood just outside the city. You could buy old houses cheap there ,as the community was hanging on by a thread. Hamilton had attracted working class families , artists, and in this particular case a young hippy by the name of Jere and his father Rick. Jere owned the house and his father lived with him. Along with whatever young attractive free spirited hippy girl that had fallen for him charm that season. The AC was not working very well so everybody’s t-shirts were soaked. They were planning to flee to woods where shade would be plentiful with a light breeze through the trees to make them forget all about the sweltering city heat for a while. I was just passing through but quickly chimed in on the perfect wooded retreat spots surrounding Baltimore. I was offered a beer but declined i finally had my health back and the thought of beer at the time seemed pointless. I mentioned a spot and all attention turned to me . A close friend of mine had showed me a secret spot if you would. He had moved to Wyoming the year before and had passed it on before he left. It had a crystal clear swimming spot will a fire pit and multiple trees to string hammocks . I had always been drawn to the woods and felt at peace in them. So as i told them about the spot there adventure began to become mine too. I pushed my motorcycle in the back yard and locked it to the porch ,and without thinking twice i was on my way to the woods. Now i had told myself i would show them the way introduce them to the spot and catch a ride back into town. I know there was a lot of holes in my plan so i doubt i had any intentions to leave in the first place. Now Jere was an old soul people were drawn to him, old man Rick Jere’s father would always say he was Lennon reincarnated as he was born on the day he was shot. They were hippies to the core and with that came everything that hippies do. We got to the head of the trail and Jere pulled out a huge bag of mushrooms . I reached in and grabbed a handful and brought it to mouth this was the true crossroads not the trail head . If i ingested this handful of impairment i would instantly be sick again and everything i had based my health and happiness on surely would be gone. I gulped down the wrong decision and barely chewed before i swallowed. The rest of the summer was a blur filled with hallucinogens,pot,alcohol ,and hard drugs. I stayed in Hamilton and along with the things i mentioned tried to drown myself in bourbon. My health quickly faded along with my happiness. During that period Jere never stopped smiling and Rick was always there swilling warm Captain Morgan stowed in his belt. Jere was the image of who i thought i wanted to be and Old Man Rick was the image of who i would become if i didn’t stop. I was stuck in a world of almost’s and not yets. I had done it again I had chosen my terminal disease over the simple cure of abstinence . The nurses had enough of me choosing the window over the treatment i had professed to need earlier that day . I was back in rehab and this was just the beginning the DT’s were worse then i had ever had. The desire for cocaine and the other drugs i had used as nourishment the months leading up to this paled in comparison to every cell in me shaking for one more drop of whiskey. This was my first day of detox I had two more days here to make sure i would not die from withdrawal ,before i moved next door to start a thirty day program. They set the tray in front of me and told me I had to eat I started with a spoon full of peas. From the tray to my mouth the shakes shook the peas from the spoon I managed to eat just one and quickly gave up and ate with my hands. Who was I ,How did i get here again.